Learning Points SIPS Session #9

SIPS #9 October 27th 2022

Topic 1: What software tools or platforms are useful to help with the implementation and use of sociocracy? Currently, this member is using glassfrog, holaspirit and peerdom

Glass frog is “a fabulous tool if everyone has buy-in”; it can streamline processes, make meetings more engaging and increase transparency, but the challenge is getting people up to speed on training and usage

IT circle in SoFA has been using peerdom and considering kumospace- see a recent link from Ted Rau to a shared SoFA document Tools for Sociocracy which aims to collect details on this topic

“The problem with any organizational software is that no one wants to use it”- in reality it can feel more like a burden.

From the perspective of being someone who has been a software engineer, database engineer and is now a freelance cooperative developer specializing in economic democracy*- “the single most important thing is culture, not technology”.* Whatever tool you use it must be:

Appropriate and inclusive- everyone must be able to use the tool

Quick and simple to learn- with no learning curve

zoom, google docs, google drive, google tasks, emails and texts messages are used because of their universality, in spite of the great desire to avoid using these companies.

slack and discord have a little more of a learning curve but are enthusiastically used in some groups.

We are still looking for simple, shared, popular, and ideally open source software that isn’t google etc.

Topic 2: How does one use sociocracy in early implementation when one knows certain things would be far easier and quicker to do hierarchically? For example, getting new circles to use the sociocratic agenda/meeting templates.

“This is a very recognizable problem”- suggested answer is to ask for consent in any request you are making to a person or group of people

Throughout any group or organization there will be a few people that do care about agendas and meeting formats- encourage them to speak up about it

“This can be even harder with volunteers”…it helps to give people a chance to practice the different roles, to increase their respect for the need for these formats

Secretarial role is key in this matter- bring the secretaries together to create templates and help to implement them in their separate groups

Remember that people have rarely or never experienced inclusive and efficient meetings- we need to model them and we need more models

Kids will volunteer to be the notetaker just to be nice- conjure up your inner 10 year old and speak up!

The majority of people do not care about meeting or agenda templates yet they will have experienced the pain of not having them. The minority of people (like the ones in this meeting) are passionate about group process- seek out these “advocates” or “champions” to help.

Many groups have found relatively successful informal or loose ways of working and deciding things- it’s good to “wait for the teachable moment” when a sociocratic process could help solve a problem for them.

Topic 3: A discussion on double linking- the benefits, challenges, hopes and importance of this “pillar” of sociocracy.

The hope is…that double linking would fix the blind spots of an organization because you would always know who to pass a problem onto, and feel confident it would be addressed. Likewise, people would see where they fit into their organization and how everyone is connected

In a smaller starting organization (20 members) there have not been enough people to have double linking yet. On reflection, as long as the decision to do single linking (so that the general circle is not too large) has been taken with sociocratic values in mind then this seems reasonable

If a general circle is too large for feedback and decision making with double linking then consider breaking it up into two circles- perhaps one of them an operational circle and/or consider meeting less frequently, i.e. quarterly

“Double linking is the most expendable aspect of sociocracy”…setting them up is a lot of energy (training/selections) especially in volunteer organizations; double links are often the first thing to go

There was some considerable concern that double linking was not considered an essential aspect of sociocracy because the usual more educated/progressive types often end up in the leadership role, so without a delegate role, the people whose voices are most often missed do not get to bring their viewpoints and experience up into the general circle.

In a sociocracy implementation, there is something called an inversion point (Who Decides Who Decides p89) when one disbands the implementation circle and creates the new sub/child/working circles. The first job of these newly formed circles is to select a leader and delegate to form the newly created general circle. Although not easy to do, This is not easy to do- because of bonds that have formed- it creates an incentive to quickly elect both a leader and delegate to start the new general circle.

When a general circle becomes too large, it’s more helpful to form more helping/sub-circles-within the general circle, than forming a lot of separate sub-circles. Barriers to this tend to be having a leader of a general circle who wants to be involved in everything

Topic 4 How do we all use sociocracy or elements of it with our families or friends?

“Sociocracy naturally oozes into a way of being in relationships”, not using it in a specific way, but, like other training, for example coaching, the qualities of it come through

It can be fun to simply try it out with friends and use informal occasions to spread the usefulness of sociocracy,

Maybe it is better to think of these ways we use sociocracy among our family or friends as not even sociocracy…more, just, how can we make things better/easier/nicer?

Using rounds, for example, to work with some family members to agree on some important matters, they have commented that it has felt different and that they feel more heard; sociocracy is introduced most often as a decision making format or organizing system- yet it could also be viewed as “deep listening”

There are already family situations that mirror aspects of sociocracy, for example, there will be one person who will take the lead, making a “proposal” of how something should happen. This has some usefulness because otherwise nothing might be decided in a timely way.

A writing circle is writing a piece- coming soon- on “deep friendships using sociocracy”- look out for this in Sociocracy for All’s Member Bulletin (SoMBu)

Perhaps it is more the values of sociocracy that work well in personal relationships

Studying sociocracy has helped to see where there is an imbalance of power in personal relationships. By asking for consent (informally) or valuing taking the time to discuss ideas before jumping to conclusions or decisions, “sociocracy has changed me and my personal relationships”.


Stop/Do less of:

Zooming in nature although a break/pleasant did not work on this meeting!

Allocating time in this meeting for 4 topics felt pressured or rushed, might be nice to prioritize topics to go deeper into them

Less speaking out of turn

Start/Do more of:

Find ways to go deeper into topics

Surfacing ideas/topics in advance so we can have time to think about them before meeting- using forum more

Ask people introducing topics to give more background/personal experience on them, to help us all tune into it and get to the “bigger topics underneath”

Stay on the topic! Try to be succinct in our answers and not repeat ourselves

Consider keeping track of topics for the future

Give specific examples portraying the issue

Feels like the conversations are just getting started here- would be nice to take some of these topics and develop them further

Keep going:

Keep showing up for this group!

Staying on the topic and being succinct when we answer would be helpful for us all

Enjoying the random topics that come up and listening to others thoughts on them

Keep evolving